Thursday, October 27, 2011

Necessary Skills for the “21st Century Economy”

By Nicholas Stix

Earlier this month, Jeff Selingo, a Chronicle of Higher Education staffer who describes himself as an “Award-winning journalist and thought leader on higher education worldwide,” approvingly quoted Dennis Jones, president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, as saying, “Too many adults out there are ill-equipped for the 21st-century economy.”

Unfortunately, neither Jones nor Selingo explained what skills equip one for the 21st-century economy.

Let me jump into the breach. Disclaimer: The following skills do not apply to “protected classes.”


How to be unemployable.

How to network among other unemployables.

How to work the word “diversity” into every sentence, in a positive sense.

How to detect and denounce racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia in a fellow unemployable.

How to demonstrate for a student loan amnesty.

How to riot against “The 1%.”

How to stay as dry as possible, while sleeping in the rain in the park.

How to aggressively panhandle, so as to secure laptops and other expensive toys, with which one may engage in cyber-rioting and cyber-panhandling.

How to work without being paid, as a panhandler for “The 99%,” as a telemarketer, doing telephone surveys, or as an intern, blogger, or on social media, such as Wikipedia, while making the warm, fuzzy “new media” boss a multimillionaire or even a billionaire.

How to go about applying for food stamps, relief, and Medicaid, without having a fixed address.

Where to find the nearest soup kitchens.

How to non-aggressively beg for food at the back door of hotel kitchens.

The best comedy one-liners for entertaining, and thereby panhandling off of subway riders.

How to make money through learning the Sanitation Department’s schedule for picking up bottles and cans, and picking up the big bags of such outside of apartment buildings, before the garbage men come for them. (Warning: Fiercely competitive field, to the point of being dangerous. But hey, you have to take risks in this life.)

How to find the nearest English-speaking shantytown, and build a tent out of throwaway material.

How to make weatherproof “boots” out of newspapers and plastic bags.

How to heat canned food, without a hot plate.

Public and private places where one may wash oneself, without getting beaten up or arrested.

In lieu of water, how to take a “bum’s bath” with talcum powder.

Public and private places that are safe, warm, and dry, where one may sit and nap for hours at a time during the day.

How to delouse oneself.

How to be a victim of a black lynch mob.

How to die.

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